How To Get Featured: Hip Hop Collabs Explained

How To Get Featured: Hip Hop Collabs Explained

We asked our friends at Treble Industries for their advice on hooking up hip hop collabs...

Written by Leni - October 24, 2019

It’s no secret that music collaborations are one of the most popular career boosting strategies available to artists in the digital music era. When you collab with another musician, you can potentially gain the entire other artist’s fan base as your own. 

So whether you want to contribute a verse to another artist’s track, or want to request a feature from an artist you admire, we asked our mates at Treble Industries, a platform that helps musicians connect with other industry professionals, for their advice on hooking up a hip hop collab and levelling up your carer. 

How Music Collaborations Work 

With social media playing such an important role in promoting artists’ work, collaborations are providing breakthrough opportunities for new acts (and more established ones fighting to reinvigorate their careers) to ‘piggy-back’ on each other’s fan bases and cross-promote the work. 

“Artists need collaborators to realize their full potential. Whether it’s producers and engineers to create songs, instrumentalists or djs to perform them, or graphic designers, photographers, and videographers to market them, it’s essential creators have access to each other to optimize their output and build context for consumers, future collaborators, or talent seekers,” says Michael Persall, Managing Director at Treble. “The benefits of the digital age is that creation tools have been democratized, resulting in more opportunities to collaborate.”

How To Find Like Minded Artists To Work With 

Being independent doesn’t have to mean going at it alone, there are a ton of websites, platforms and communities to help you find like minded artists to collaborate with. 

Some of our favourites include Treble, a platform that helps musicians connect with other industry professionals, like engineers, graphic designers and artists; Kompoz, a service that helps artists crowdsource music production via cloud-based workspace tools and The Digilogue, who host a series of music and technology events that explore the intersection of music, technology, and business, creating online and offline experiences for musicians, developers and digital creatives.

“The way I see it, artists are driven by public facing data or word of mouth when it comes to collaboration,” adds Michael. “Who produced the record you want your music to sound like? Who created the cover art you think is in your lane aesthetically?”

Collaborating with an artist that has a similar vibe to you means you’re more likely to recruit their fan base — if you share a similar sound, there’s a good chance their listeners will love your music too. But in many ways, it also makes sense to look for artists who don’t share your home city or music style. Working with artists from different sides of the artistic coin gives you the best chance of building the creative friction needed for a super successful track. Keep an open mind! 

Tips For Approaching Another Artist 

Collabs are all about building relationships, so it’s a good idea to add a personal touch to your email, DM or text. If you put in some time to research the artist, their work and previous collaborators, you’ll be able to frame your pitch in the right context. 

“Make sure you put your best foot forward. Reach out to the talent, or their team, tell them why you believe the collaboration makes sense for both parties and provide context that supports that,” says Michael. “How will they benefit from the collaboration? Will they now have access to your audience that may not know of them? Will it help build their portfolio? Always think about collective interest and goals of each collaborator when exploring collaboration opportunities.” 

When reaching out to the artist, be sure to include links to your music, socials, visuals, press coverage, notable collaborations, shared bills, etc.  

Setting The Rules 

It might sound a bit serious, but it’s important to protect yourself, and your music, with a set of rules that have been signed off in an agreement. Everyone working on the project should be clear on the terms from the beginning, that way you can avoid a disagreement in the thick of the project (or worst case, after it’s been released...). 

What does the other artist expect from you? What do you expect from them? What are the agreed terms for royalty splits? The best way to avoid any disagreements is to make sure you have all the difficult conversations upfront.

“Be clear on expectations from the get-go. Splits, value exchange, timeline, etc,” says Michael. 

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